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Promoting Indigenous Culture of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral

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Islamabad: To have no cultural and traditional background to your memories is equal to having no education. Cultural traditions are important because they transmit shared values, stories and goals from one generation to the next and encourage groups of people to create and share a collective identity, which in turn serves to shape individual identities.
The Hashoo Foundation (HF) with financial assistance of the Center for Culture and Development of Denmark (CKU) concluded the project, “Harnessing Indigenous Cultures for Economic Empowerment of Artisans and Sectarian Harmony in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral” here on Friday 16th December 2016. The project completion ceremony was organized at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA).
The event opened with a musical performance by traditional band who had especially come from Gilgit-Baltistan, to pay tribute to the people whose lives were lost in the tragic air crash of PK661 on 7th December 2016.
The project was aimed at reviving indigenous cultures of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral to economically empower its local artisans and to promote the social and sectarian harmony in the region. A total of 22 festivals were organized that received overwhelming appreciation from communities as most of the festivals had been obsolete, mentioned the Project Officer, Amjad Khan, while sharing the project achievements. He also informed that 350 local artisans received training in stone carving, wood carving and in traditional music. The artisans also learned techniques for creating value chain and enterprise for sustainable economic empowerment. As a result of these trainings several business groups have been formed in the region to further promote the value chain of local products and services.
“Local culture and traditions are important part of any society as it is the root to how societies are built and how people form opinions and build relations. We strongly believe that art and culture are important means to bridge differences, to create tolerance and to provide economic opportunities for communities as well as individuals” said Amir Hussain, Director Programs, Hashoo Foundation during his welcome address.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Head, Royal Embassy of Denmark in Islamabad, Jakob Jakobsen , said that Government of Denmark is proud to be supporting art and culture in Pakistan that focus on supporting minorities, as well as women, youth, local artists and artisans, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations by providing larger access to art, culture and creative industries and public-private partnerships.
The event was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from civil society organizations, media, representatives of the Danish Embassy, senior officials from the Hashoo group ,students from the Youth Development Centre, international agencies and UN among others.
Kiosks were set up by local artisans who showcased their skills through the display of products produced by them.
The participants of the event also observed a two-minute silence to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash while traveling from Chitral to Islamabad.

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